A couple of weeks back, Gothamist told you about the planned debut of the breathable booze machine at Trust Lounge. Trust apparently wussed out, as Slate reports:

When Spirit Partners [the makers of AWOL, or Alcohol WithOut Liquid] prepared to introduce the machine on Aug. 20—with a launch party at Trust, a trendy Manhattan lounge—several, including Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, sounded the alarm. The matter came, inevitably, to the attention of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who referred it to the NYS Liquor Authority, whose attorney warned Trust that it ought to think twice about the AWOL launch party. (As a result, the machine was demonstrated using fruit-infused water and Gatorade instead of alcohol.)

The legality of AWOL—at least for venues licensed to serve alcohol in New York state—seems to turn on two relatively obscure provisions of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control law—a law enacted in 1934, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition (in 1933). According to Thomas McKeon, counsel to the State Liquor Authority, this law prohibits 1) separating alcohol from the rest of a mixture and 2) dispensing it from a container other than the one it came in. These are both provisions that AWOL appears to violate. (For hyperspecific formulations, check out Sections 153 and 106, respectively, of the ABC law.) While McKeon said that disciplinary action would be considered against any bars that offered AWOL to customers, his office could not stop individuals from buying the machine and using it at home. (At roughly $3,000 a unit, AWOL may not sell very well, but at the moment individuals are still free to purchase it.).

The Slate article also explains why inhaling alcohol fumes cannot (as AWOL's marketing suggests) get you drunk without danger of hangovers, while it can lead very quickly to fatal alcohol poisoning (since it bypasses the digestive system which slows alcohol absorption and provides the failsafe vomiting reflex), and may make alcohol addiction more likely.

Gothamist doesn't lament the failure of AWOL, since we're epicurians at heart and are just as interested in the gastronomic experience of a good stiff drink as we are in the brain-smashing intoxication that follows. But we have no doubt that there are some disappointed young boozers out there (the kind who spend a lot of time at places like Trust Lounge, probably) who are just rich and crazy enough to pony up the three grand for an AWOL machine of their very own. Illegal and dangerous? How can they resist?